We made the decision to become foster parents in August of last year. My husband always had a heart for adoption but what little we knew about adoption changed when we moved to Kentucky. We didn’t know where to begin.
I heard about our agency through our business so I reached out to the DCCH Center for Children and Families and they graciously sat down with us for an orientation meeting. After learning everything we learned during this meeting regarding the need that there is for foster parents in NKY, we felt that it was our duty to do something about it. Here are a few of the reasons why we decided to become foster parents:
- It’s a calling – I don’t want to sound cliche, but as Christians, we felt that this was the way God was calling us to love our neighbor, take care of the fatherless and to bring Him glory. We hope to offer these children a safe and nurturing environment, structure, and a lot of love. Looking back, this opportunity was presented to us in a very unique way and we couldn’t run away from it.
- There is huge a need – There’s a tremendous need in our area. I just can’t say this enough! In 2009, the state of Kentucky had 6,872 children in care. In 2013, this number grew by 4.2% to 7,162 and currently the number is 8,795. This means that in less than 10 years there has been an increase of 28% in children that have been part of the foster care system. Currently, in the state of Kentucky, the average age of these children is 6.8 and the average number of months that they stay in care is 22 months. As heartbreaking as these numbers are, our hope is bigger. We hope that others decide to support these children in the best way they are able.
- Our son – We have a 2-year-old son and we want him to learn about love and sacrifice. We want his life to be opened to the realities that so many other children in our neighborhoods and around the world live in. We want to show him with our actions how we can take care and love of each other.
- Support – We haven’t had a placement yet but the support that we have experienced so far has been immense. From the people that we work with at DCCH, who are very knowledgeable, positive and caring, to our friends, family, and community. We know that we are not alone and for that we will be eternally grateful.
Once we made the decision, it took us about 6 months to get approved. A few of the things we had to do were:
- Agency Selection – For us, this was the first step. To get started or find out more about fostering in your particular state, you can contact your local public agency and/or one or more private agencies.
- Orientation Meeting – Most agencies offer recurring orientation meetings where basic information is shared and all initial questions are answered. This is a great way to know if becoming a foster parent is the right thing for your family.
- Classes/Training – The state of Kentucky requires 30 hours of training. Training can cover information about the child protection system, separation, grief and loss, visitation and birth families, positive parenting, and transitions back to birth parents. Our classes were very insightful, helpful and practical.
- Paperwork – This typically includes an application, background checks, references and questionnaires among other required forms. This can be a little bit tedious and/or intimidating but if you work on it little by little it can definitely be done without much trouble.
- Home Study – This was the last piece of the puzzle for us. Our home study was conducted after we completed our training classes and application to foster. The state of Kentucky does require that families applying to foster complete a home study.
I do believe that fostering is not for everyone. However, we all can do something! Whether you feel called to become a foster/adoptive family or support those who wish to do so, I would love to help you discover what that looks like.